What the deck!

What the deck!

In the age of super, mega and of late….gigayachts, there are expanded opportunities to express ones style in many areas of these now ginormous vessels, areas that were, in past iterations of smaller yachts, too restrictive to fully express oneself. Having entered a new frontier of yachting with all that glorious gigayacht volume and seemingly endless spaces…. we yacht designers now have a significant canvas to create environments and experiences on exterior decks that can at time solicit such reactions as “what the deck?” Hence the topic of my latest design commentary.

Having been assigned the task, and honor, of designing yet another private yacht, this time around for a young family….I was thrilled with the directive given to create a “family deck” in which all members of the family; the toddlers, children, teens, parents and grandparents can enjoy a space utopia atop their yacht.

A generous footprint, measuring an impressive 80’-3 ¾” in length x 26’-6” in beam (or width) marks the sun deck…. the shortest of the 4 decks onboard. The directive to create a space that is nothing short of a multi-functional resort deck, presents a myriad of options that appears seemingly endlessness.

This commentary walks us through the design evolution and iterations of what I believe to be one of the most beautiful & exciting sun decks we’ve had the privilege of creating for a client….

The Owner’s Design Directive:

In the words of the owner: we are a family and wish to enjoy our boat as a family. We are not interested in creating a division in spaces in which the children would be separated from us. We wish to spend as much time as possible with them. When we are in the pool, we want them to be in the pool as well, except we would like a pool that is fitting for them as children. We would like to have a variety of lounge, sitting and eating areas on this deck negating the need to venture elsewhere on the yacht. In addition, we would like to have a bar area centrally located and in close proximity to the pools and the dining area. We don’t want to have to leave the pools for a snack or a drink should we desire. Of critical importance is that of a Day Head (aka powder room) as well an outside Summer Shower. We would like to accommodate everyone if possible at one table to enjoy family style meals which would be best served by a summer kitchen / BBQ area in which the chef and crew could tend to the needs of our family and friends in one centralized location. It’s important to make provisions for exercise and sports, such as basketball….if possible, and lastly, the unique request to design the deck surfacing (flooring) to something other than the status quo or of the standard breed of design one would commonly expect, but rather, a creative approach expressing various designs and patterns to mitigate the sheer volume of deck space.

Initial Conceptual Layout:

In response to the Owner’s request, many design layouts were created and considered meticulously one by one, and the best of each design was retained until we arrived at a refined layout in which all requests of the Owner were successfully achieved.

When viewed holistically, the concentration of amenities in the forward portion of the deck are tailored and sensible regarding circulation flow and easy accessibility to all features. When examined, the layout allows all such features to be enjoyed while not disturbing those who are enjoying other features of this social hub. As an example, those sunning on the lounge pads are not interrupted by those entering or exiting the kiddie pool, the adult pool or the riding seat. The sun pads have direct access on 3 sides from the perimeter walk around deck space. Conversely, access into the pools are via dedicated and isolated steps and staircases thereby allowing such activities to occur without the interference of those enjoying the surrounding amenities. As shown in the image above, the layout successfully incorporates all that was requested….and then some!

Final Sun Deck Layout:

Once the G.A (General Arrangement aka: floorplan) is developed and approved, the design development advances to the 3 dimensional level in which hand sketched vignette details are developed of various areas of the deck to help convey, in a general, loose and interpretive form, that which I am trying to communicate to the owner. Following are hand drawn vignette conceptual sketches along with actual photos of the Sun Deck, which explains the various features of the deck starting from forward:

Forward Facing Riding Seat:

A commanding position on the sun deck, the forward facing riding seat is highly sought after and a most desirable spot. Upon arrival into port, there is no better place to be than upon that of the forward riding seat. The vantage point, with an eye level some 28′-6″ above waterline gives its occupant a most brilliant view of their new port of call. Additionally, while out at sea and underway, the brisk rush of the ocean air on ones face revitalizes and invigorates much like that of a spa experience (which coincidently enough, on this yacht, is located just one deck down, known as the 01 or Bridge Deck….an interior space that wonderfully accommodates the onboard spa experience at a level on par with the best that most resort spas have to offer). The forward riding seat is much enjoyed as a favorite spot while at anchor in which the boat’s bow is always towards the breeze. Few of life’s pleasures compares with that of relaxing under a majestic white market umbrella atop that seat while enjoying a snack, a cool tropical drink, reading a book or simply being with your loved one whilst simply living the moment as you gaze absorbingly at the wonderous beauty of the ocean….

Kiddie Pool:

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Just aft of the forward riding seat is my absolute favorite feature of the entire deck…. the whimsical and lighthearted kiddie pool. At a depth of 18″ it’s nothing short of a shallow oasis enticing you to indulge in a moment of pure fun and pleasure. Strategically located within the pool, the massaging effect of the many water jets complicates any and all attempts to separate the young (and not so young) ones from the kiddie pool! From a functional and practical perspective, nicely concealed dual steps with innocuous handrails to port and starboard of the kiddie pool provides easy and safe access for the children. For protection from the elements, the kiddie pool is equipped with built-in ports to accommodate large expanses of white market umbrellas in stainless steel construction, capable of withstanding the unexpected gusts of rogue breezes that frequent the surface of even the most serene and placid seas….

Adult Pool:

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

As requested, the second pool is primarily intended for the adults,  which is nestled between the kiddie pool (always important to keep a close eye on the small ones) and that of the full service bar, in which the adults can cool their wicks with an endless supply and selection of the most exotic drinks while never having to exit the pool.

Additionally, we created what we affectionately call “Sky Tables”, a wonderful pair of removable tables handmade of teak with inlays of exotic woods mounted atop polished stainless-steel bases, both of which are removable to stow during long and brutal ocean crossings. The sky tables, which are elevated above the pools to avoid as much as possible the splash of water, offer yet another alluring amenity which caters to enhancing the in-pool experience as they are easily accessible by the deck crew to replenish with canape, drinks and the like while a pair of sweeping teak staircases and free formed handrails provide easy access to the adult pool from both port and starboard sides.

Sun Bar:

A hallmark of the sun deck are the ever important sun pads for lounging and simply soaking up the sun. In this particular design, the sun pads are an integral part of the nucleus as the center of all the action, Located on both port and starboard sides of the sun deck, the lounging area boasts an impressive 180 square feet of surface area ensuring the space needed to accommodate all who yearn to bath in the sun’s rays.

Of course, what’s a sun deck without the “pool bar”! And a pool bar it is, with proximity so close, an occupant in the pool can seemingly service the bar (but such activities will be reserved for that of the highly trained and qualified deck crew). Designed with every possible amenity, such as refrigeration, ice and cold drink storage, the bar serves 2 functions…. firstly, by an attendant, the in-pool guests enjoy a full accompaniment of services for all that could be requested from the bar. Secondly, there is a guest bar located just aft, in which one can sit at the natural stone bar top to enjoy drinks or a light fare of snacks while in close and communicative distance to those enjoying the pool.

Al Fresco Dining:

Centrally located and sheltered under the radar arch at midships, the dining table serves as the core gathering spot for the midday family meals. An impressive table at 6 feet in dimeter, its handcrafted of Burmese teak with inlays of exotic wood species and topped off with a mirror polished surface of durable resin to withstand the harsh elements typically associated with the environment of a sun deck. This custom table, with a massive polished stainless cylindrical pedestal base, graciously accommodate 12 guests in what amounts to a beautiful, intimate experience of family and friends. Natural teak chairs with tailored cushions upholstered in a smart textile suited for sun, salt and tanning oils, makes this dining experience uninhibiting!

Aft Lounge Area:

The aft portion of the sun deck is reserved for lounging and offers a diverse arrangement of mixed seating in which one can lounge on chaises, in lounge chairs, on benches or on a comfortable sofa. The furnishings are of natural teak wood with textiles woven for the outdoor environment. This entire seating area was designed to accommodate up to four, 10’ square market umbrellas providing ample protective shading from the summer (and winter) sun.

Sports Deck:

For the benefit of the athletic guests, a removable basketball hoop was designed to take full advantage of the deck space just aft of the radar arch, in which 986 square feet of deck surface space provides the space needed for a competitive match at the net!

In addition, a designated space located to midship-port accommodates an exercise/cardio machine.

Summer Shower:

Stunning and visually pleasing is the exposed Summer Shower! Open to all functions of the Sun Deck, the Summer Shower was designed to allow easy and quick access after a brisk workout or playing basketball before jumping into one of the pools. The walls of the shower are resin coated teak separated by inlays of polished stainless steel. The deck of the shower is finished with a removable teak grid, a perfect non-slip surface I deal for rinsing off under a gravity rain shower head. A slightly frosted glass panel offers a hint of privacy.

Day Head:

Located along the port side of the Sun Deck is the Day Head (aka the Powder Room). A visit within is nothing short of an undersea journey, where hues of ocean blue glass mosaics cover virtually all surfaces, rendering a sensation of being submerged. Lalique glass starfish handles on the faucets add to the whimsical experience and is most befitting within the overall design of the Sun Deck. Every detail attest to one being on the ocean, a feeling conveyed quite nicely by a Sicis glass mosaic in shades of blue and green borrowed from the ocean.

The Net Results:

A successful design interpretation of a set of directives given to me & my design team. But most importantly…..a very happy client!

Recipient of the World Superyacht Awards, Showboats International Design Awards and several nominations in the coveted International Superyacht Society Awards for Design Excellence.

Patrick Knowles Designs © 2019. Website designed by Mugsy PR.